Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World

By Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, September 21, 2022

Statement of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, adopted at the meeting on International Day of Peace 21 September 2022.

We the Ukrainian pacifists demand and will strive to end the war by peaceful means and to protect human right to conscientious objection to military service.

Peace, not war, is the norm of human life. War is an organized mass murder. Our sacred duty is that we shall not kill. Today, when the moral compass is being lost everywhere and self-destructive support for war and the military is on the rise, it is especially important for us to maintain common sense, stay true to our non-violent way of life, build peace and support peace-loving people.

Condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine, the UN General Assembly called for an immediate peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and emphasized that parties to the conflict must respect human rights and international humanitarian law. We share this position.

Current policies of war until absolute victory and contempt for criticism of human rights defenders is unacceptable and must be changed. What is needed is a ceasefire, peace talks and serious work to correct the tragic mistakes made on both sides of the conflict. Prolongation of the war has catastrophic, deadly consequences, and continues to destroy the welfare of society and environment not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world. Sooner or later, parties will sit at the negotiating table, if not after their reasonable decision, then under the pressure of unbearable suffering and weakening, the last better to be avoided by choosing the diplomatic path.

It is wrong to take the side of any of the warring armies, it is necessary to stand on the side of peace and justice. Self-defense can and should be carried out by non-violent and unarmed methods. Any brutal government is illegitimate, and nothing justifies the oppression of people and bloodshed for the illusory goals of total control or conquest of territories. No one can evade responsibility for his own misdoings by claiming to be a victim of misdoings of others. Wrong and even criminal behavior of any party cannot justify creation of a myth about an enemy with whom it is allegedly impossible to negotiate and who must be destroyed at any cost, including self-destruction. A desire for peace is a natural need of every person, and its expression cannot justify a false association with a mythical enemy.

Human right to conscientious objection to military service in Ukraine was not guaranteed according to international standards even in peacetime, not to mention the current conditions of martial law. The state shamefully avoided for decades and now continues to avoid any serious response to the relevant suggestions of the UN Human Rights Committee and public protests. Although the state cannot derogate this right even in time of war or other public emergency, as says the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the army in Ukraine refuses to respect the universally recognized right to conscientious objection to military service, denying even to replace coercive military service by mobilization with an alternative non-military service according to the direct prescription of the Constitution of Ukraine. Such scandalous disrespect to human rights should have no place under the rule of law.

The state and society must put an end to the despotism and legal nihilism of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, manifested in policies of harassment and criminal punishment for refusal to be engaged in war effort and the forced turn of civilians into soldiers, due to which civilians cannot move freely within the country nor go abroad, even if they have vital needs to rescue from danger, to obtain an education, to find means for living, professional and creative self-realization, etc.

Governments and civil societies of the world appeared to be helpless before the scourge of war, drawn into the funnel of conflict between Ukraine and Russia and wider enmity between NATO countries, Russia and China. Even the threat of destruction of all life on the planet by nuclear weapons had not put an end to the mad arms race, and the budget of the UN, the main institution of peace on Earth, is only 3 billion dollars, while global military expenditures are hundreds of times larger and have exceeded a wild amount of 2 trillion dollars. Due to their inclination to organize mass bloodshed and coerce people to kill, nation states have proven to be incapable of non-violent democratic governance and the performance of their basic functions of protecting life and freedom of people.

In our view, the escalation of armed conflicts in Ukraine and the world are caused by the fact that the existing economic, political and legal systems, education, culture, civil society, mass media, public figures, leaders, scientists, experts, professionals, parents, teachers, medics, thinkers, creative and religious actors are not fully perform their duties of strengthening the norms and values of a non-violent way of life, as envisages the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, adopted by the UN General Assembly. Evidences of the neglected peace-building duties are the archaic and dangerous practices which must be ended: military patriotic upbringing, compulsory military service, lack of systematic public peace education, propaganda of war in the mass media, support of war by NGOs, reluctance of some human rights defenders to advocate consistently for the full realization of human rights to peace and to conscientious objection to military service. We remind stakeholders of their peace-building duties and will steadfastly insist on compliance with these duties.

We see as goals of our peace movement and all peace movements of the world to uphold human right to refuse to kill, to stop the war in Ukraine and all wars in the world, and to ensure sustainable peace and development for all the people of the planet. To achieve these goals, we will tell the truth about the evil and deception of war, learn and teach practical knowledge about peaceful life without violence or with its minimization, and we will help to the needy, especially those affected by wars and unjust coercion to support army or participation in war.

War is a crime against humanity, therefore, we are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.

27 Responses

  1. Thank you very much for this report and I support your demands. I also wish peace in the world and in Ukraine! I hope that soon, at long last, all those directly and indirectly involved in the war will come together and negotiate in order to end this terrible war as quickly as possible. For the survival of Ukrainians and all mankind!

  2. It is about time that all nations declared war a crime. There is no place for war in a civilized world.
    Unfortunately, we are currently not a civilized world. Let the people of the word stand up and make it so.

  3. If humanity does not abandon the warpath it is on globally, we shall self-destruct. We must send our soldiers home and replace military organizations with preace corps, and we must stop the manufacture of weapons and ammunition and replace it with the construction of better housing and the production of food for all humans. Unfortunately, Mr. Zelensky is a ruthless warmonger who is more than willing to enrich the American military industrialists who have manipulated the Ukraine with his help into this war. Who will do what is essential for all of us: make peace? The future looks grim. All the more reason for us to protest against the war-makers and demand peace. It’s time for people to go into the streets and demand an end dto all forms of militarism.

  4. Can you call yourself a Christian or respecter of our Creator while killing people, or supporting killing people? I think not. Be Free, in Jesus’ name. Amen

  5. One of the hard-to-remove mental viruses in the human make-up is the urge to imitate, stick together, defend one’s own clan and automatically reject anything an “outsider” has or believes. Children learn it from parents, adults are influenced by “leaders”. Why? It’s an application of the power of gravity and magnetism. So when an enlightened individual propounds anti-violence, anti-murder, anti-opinions, a declaration of “conscientious objection to military service” and being forced to kill, that declaration is viewed as disloyalty to the government and its principles of violence. Objectors are seen as traitors, not willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater clan. How to cure this insanity and create peace and mutual help throughout the world?

  6. Bravo. The most righteous thing I’ve read in a long time. War is a crime, plain and simple, and those who instigate and prolong war rather than choose diplomacy are arch-criminals committing crimes against humanity and ecocide.

  7. In the case of th present war within Ukraine, the Russian government has certainly been the aggressor and, so far, the victim of this aggression. Hence Europeans outside of the Ukraine understand that, for defending itself, the Ukrainian state has introduced martial law. This fact, however, should not prevent that peace negotiations between the warring parties have preference to continuing the war. And if the Russian government is not ready to peace negotiations, this should not prevent the other parties of the conflict, the Ukrainian government or NATO to continue giving preference to negotiations. For the ongoing killing is worse than any loss of territory. I say this, since I have been a child of the Second World War in Germany and a vivid memory of the fear to death with which have lived as my steady companion in an age from two to five years. And I assume that Ukrainian children today live through the very same fear to death today. To my mind, consequently, a cease fire today should have preference over continuing the war.

  8. I want to see a ceasefire and for both sides to win the peace. Surely, the United Nations as well as all nations and their peoples can call for a ceasefire instead of sending more arms for more war and wanting one or other side to win.

  9. It is striking that all 12 comments support peace negotiations and diplomacy to end the conflict. Were a poll be taken today of ordinary citizens in Ukraine, Russia or any NATO country the majority would likely agree with this statement and would support Yuri. We certainly do. We all can spread a message of peace in our own little circles, appeal for peace to our governments and leaders, and support peace organizations such as World Beyond War, the International Peace Bureau and others. If we are members of a church we should promote the teachings and example of Jesus, the greatest peacemaker of all time who chose non-violence and death rather than the sword as the way to peace. How timely that Pope Francis expounds this way in his 2022 publication “Against War – Building a Culture of Peace” and courageously states: “There is no such thing as a just war; they do not exist!”

  10. It’s about time someone stands up for peace and against this mad rush totals nuclear annihilation. People everywhere, especially in the West, needs to speak out against this madness, and demand from their governments real actions for diplomacy and peace talk. I totally support this peace organization and call on all governments involved in this war to descalate before it is too late. You have no rights to play fire with the safety of our planet.

  11. So fight for so called ‘Western values’ have led to the destruction of one country after another, caused more tragedy and disaster many times greater than whatever threat was presented as being confronted.

  12. Den Mut und die Kraft zu finden, das Böse in uns selbst zu erkennen und zu wandeln, ist in unserer Zeit die größte menschliche Herausforderung. Eine ganz neue Dimension. – Je weiter ein Problem weg ist, desto genauer können wir beschreiben, was da eigentlich zu tun wäre – ……wenn wir aber das Böse in uns selbst nicht erkennen können oder wollen und stattdessen die Aggression oder Raffinesse oder wie auch immer wir diese “Spezialiäten in uns” nennen wollen, nach Außen tragen oder gehen lassen, um so sicherer führt das in den Krieg, sogar in den Krieg aller gegen alle. Insofern hat jeder einzelne Mensch eine sehr große Verantwortung für die Entwicklung von Frieden in der Welt. Er fängt in uns selbst an. ….Eben eine riesige Herausforderung. Aber lernbar ist es grundsätzlich schon…..paradoxer Weise können und müssen wir uns darin gegenseitig helfen. Und wir bekommen auch Hilfe aus der göttlich-geistigen Welt durch Christus! Aber eben nicht an uns vorbei….!!! Wir selbst, jeder Einzelne, müssen es freiwillig wollen. So merkwürdig es klingen mag.

  13. Can you say what sentences can be inflicted on Yurii on conviction?

    Paddy Prendiville
    The Phoenix
    44 Lwr Baggot Street
    Dublin 2
    tel: 00353-87-2264612 or 00353-1-6611062

    You can take this message as me supporting your petition to drop the prosecution.

  14. Barbara Tuchman of Harvard, a long-time atheist – the kind Jesus liked! – reminded us of the national and world leaders, from Troy to Vietnam, who, despite contrary advice from their own chosen advisors, chose to go to war. Power and money and ego. It is the same impulse followed as pursued by school or social bullies, i.e. straighten out a perceived problem by personal force with no discussion, and don’t engage in messy, slow, time-consuming discussions. The same dynamic is evident in leaders and controllers of large corporations. An emergency responder is able to act quickly and by subverting much compassionate action, but is remiss if they do not review their necessary actions to express their sadness for having made some decisions on their own without gaining credibility or permission, not possible in an emergency. The wars throughout history are obviously not an emergency, but leaders are trained to see emergency as the only possible action to take. They are ready for tempest or unexpected explosion but not for deliberate action. Just look at the materials now needed to create a planet that will survive; will manufacturers have the patience to fully discern what is necessary, and to engage persons affected in a just process? “Speed kills” is a warning. This is what has happened in Ukraine and Russia as well. The old popular song: “Slow down, you’re goin’ too fast…..”

  15. What russia is doing is a limited defensive war to protect their long term security interests in and around ukraine. So terms like russian aggression are not justifiable in reality. Let’s try US-NATO aggression instead because that’s what it is when the 2014 Nuland nazi coup is funded and now 25,000 russian speakers in the ukraine have been mass murdered since 2014. Sources available on request. Lyle Courtsal
    PS The same crew of idiots that brought you the iraqi invasions; 3,000,000 dead not 1,000,000 are the ones now bringing you the ukrainian war crime.

    1. What would an unlimited war be? Nuclear apocalypse? So every single war has been a limited defensive war to protect long term security interests — which can be defended but not morally or reasonably or while pretending not to support war.

  16. I support this statement 100%. Yurii is to be applauded and respected, not prosecuted. This is the most sane response to war that I have read.

  17. I agree that conscientious objection to taking part in war should be allowed. I support the need for peace. But can there be an approach to peace without using the language of peace? This statement says we should not take sides, but I find some of the language aggressive and blaming towards Ukraine. All negative language is addressed to Ukraine. There is none to russia. There is bound be anger in speaking of the futility of war and the need to stop the killing. But in my view the call to peace should not be in anger, which is what I see here. Politics gets in the way. Peace will have to come from balance and constructive discussion and russia has repeatedly said that negotiation is possible only with the capitulation of Ukraine. Easy to say “peace at any price”, but this may not be a desirable outcome, when it is viewed in the context of what russian military has done to Ukrainians in the territories it occupies and will continue to do while it is there.

  18. I agree that conscientious objection to taking part in war should be allowed. I support the need for peace. But can there be an approach to peace without using the language of peace? This statement says we should not take sides, but I find some of the language aggressive and blaming towards Ukraine. All negative language is addressed to Ukraine. There is none to russia. There is bound be anger in speaking of the futility of war and the need to stop the killing. But in my view the call to peace should not be in anger, which is what I see here. Politics gets in the way. Peace will have to come from balance and constructive discussion and russia has repeatedly said that negotiation is possible only with the capitulation of Ukraine. Easy to say “peace at any price”, including giving aggression the reward it wants by giving up land. But this may not be a desirable outcome, when it is viewed in the context of what russian military has done to Ukrainians in the territories it occupies, continue to do while it is there ie its stated aim of the elimination of Ukraine.

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